America's Public Holidays, 1865-1920
By Ellen M. Litwicki
(Smithsonian Books, Paperback, 9781588340610, 304pp.)
Publication Date: March 17, 2003
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From the revered Memorial Day to the forgotten Lasties Day, America's Public Holidays is a timely and thoughtful analysis of how the civic culture of America has been fashioned. By analyzing how holidays became a forum for expressing patriotism, how public tradition has been invented, and how the definition of America itself was changed, Ellen Litwicki tells the intriguing story of the elite effort to create new holidays and the variety of responses from ordinary Americans.
Ellen Litwicki is an associate professor of history at the State University of New York, Fredonia.
“An excellent and well-written book. Litwicki has undertaken a massive task and succeeded. America's Public Holidays provides an excellent overview of the cultural history of public celebrations.”—Journal of American History
“A compelling ethno-cultural interpretation of the historical origins of modern American holidays, as well as a demonstration of how such commemorations emerged from the competition of ethnic and racial groups to tell America's story as their own.”—David Blight, Public Historian
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